Communicator (communicator) wrote,
Communicator
communicator

Othello

Last night I went to see Dominic West and Clarke Peters in Othello at the Sheffield Crucible. It is a broad, robust version. The overall story was plainly told: chop chop, kill kill, what a bastard. There was a lot of audience laughter at the bare-faced badness of Iago.

I thought the young girl who played Desdemona was extremely touching and sweet, and Iago's wife was good too. But the other supporting characters were a bit disappointing, gabbling through some of the scenes. And it was hard to hear some of the lines.

The leads though were strong and full of energy. You could follow the story transparently, feel it emotionally, and you knew where you were. When I was younger Shakespeare was more solemnly and artistically presented, with emphasis on the beauty of the language. Nowadays I think it is more accessible. I hear more natural laughter and gasps of horror and so on from audiences nowadays. I suppose that something has been lost, but I am glad to see people engaged with the story. TV actors like these are good at that - they are not unsubtle, but they are direct - they convey this is the person, this is his motive, this is what he wants and how he goes about it. They communicate the story very clearly.

I think the biggest problem for high brow culture is that people can't engage with it, or even feel it doesn't want them to engage, so I think stagings like this are doing a great job, which is more important than subtleties of poetry.
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